Our Story

13 th Street Bar-B-Q, Home of the Original Pork Chop Sandwich, was the culmination of the lifelong vision of owner and operator, Jimmy Johnson. For 25 years, Jimmy worked as an insurance agent. During those years he spent a great deal of time doing what he loved the most, grilling barbeque for his family and friends while his wife Gala made the barbeque sauce. The sauce recipe was originally passed down from Jimmy’s grandmother. Jimmy and Gala made a few adjustments to create the mouth-watering sauce that is still used today.

Jimmy had always dreamed of having his own restaurant but never thought it would be possible. Harris Copeland, a very close friend, approached him one day and offered to be is partner. So, with little money and a lot of passion, 13 th Street Bar-B-Q opened its doors on August 26, 1988. The location on 13 th Street in Phenix City was small, barely able to hold 20 people, but it was big on business. It was this small location which not only formed the foundation of the business itself, but friendships that will last forever.

Slay Johnson, Jimmy’s son, ran the restaurant for his father until he could officially retire from the insurance business.

The business grew faster than expected and in 1991, 13 th Street Bar-B-Q moved to a larger building on 7 th Ave. just behind the original location, where it is still located today. Slay bought out Harris Copeland in 1993 and father and son became business partners.

Jimmy Johnson, known to most as "Mr. Jimmy", loved to cook and loved to make his customers laugh and smile. He wanted everyone to be happy and enjoy their meal as well as the atmosphere at his restaurant. He genuinely cared about his customers, often asking about how their families were doing or how work was going. 13 th Street Bar-B-Q has a very pleasant home-like atmosphere. A dedicated group of “regulars”, some of whom visit daily, know that just by walking through the door, the friendly staff is already preparing their order.

As the business continued to grow, there were a lot of requests for another location. On April 4, 2000, 13 th Street Bar-B-Q of Columbus opened on Veterans Parkway. It was at that time that Slay decided to start franchising the business. The first franchise opened in 2001 and currently there are 4 13 th Street Bar-B-Q locations, Phenix City, Columbus, Ladonia and Cataula.

13 th Street Bar-B-Q was picked as one of the Top 10 Places to Eat in Alabama in 2005 and in 2007. Alabama Public Television chose 13 th Street as one of their Top 10 Barbeque Restaurants in Alabama in 2004. A film crew spent two days filming and this special has been aired several times over the years. The Pork Chop Sandwich has been listed as one of the "100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die", a brochure published by the Alabama Dept. of Tourism.

Jimmy and Slay Johnson worked side-by-side for 18 years, until January 8, 2006 when Jimmy passed away. Slay, now sole owner, has kept the business running and remodeled the current location in 2018.

The staff and patrons hope you will come by to visit and try one of the famous Pork Chop Sandwiches.